Ride, Boldly Ride…

Today in History, March 20, 1616:

Gaily bedight,

A gallant knight,

In sunshine and in shadow,

Had journeyed long,

Singing a song,

In search of Eldorado.

But he grew old—

This knight so bold—

And o’er his heart a shadow—

Fell as he found

No spot of ground

That looked like Eldorado.

And, as his strength

Failed him at length,

He met a pilgrim shadow—

‘Shadow,’ said he,

‘Where can it be—

This land of Eldorado?’

‘Over the Mountains

Of the Moon,

Down the Valley of the Shadow,

Ride, boldly ride,’

The shade replied,—

‘If you seek for Eldorado!’

-Edgar Allen Poe

On this date in 1616, Sir Walter Raleigh, English courtier and explorer, was released from confinement in the Tower of London (for the second time) so he could lead an expedition to the Americas in search of the fabled City of Gold, Eldorado (for the second time.)

In his lifetime Sir Raleigh explored Virginia, being instrumental in its settlement. He also was instrumental in popularizing the import and use of tobacco in England.

During his second search for Eldorado some of his men raided a Spanish outpost, which violated a treaty of peace between the two nations.

As a consequence, when he returned home, he was arrested and executed.